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5 Mistakes You’re Making With Your Etsy Shop – and How to Fix Them




I’ve been teaching people about selling craft online for a few years now – and most of those people start out on Etsy.

But you know what? I keep seeing them all make the same mistakes.


Today, I’m going to share 5 mistakes that I see people make with their Etsy shop – and how you can fix them.


Not Enough Listings

This is one of the most common mistakes people make when starting out.

I can’t tell you how many times someone has asked me to look at their shop and tell them ‘why they’re not selling anything‘… and when I do, I see they only have 5 or 10 items in their shop.

When people land on a shop that has less than a full page of items, they immediately assume ‘hobby’ – NOT business.

A lot of people speculate that 100 products is the magic number. Once you hit this, you have a good few pages of items, lots of opportunity to be found in search, and people see that you have a full shop, so take you more seriously.

Don’t panic if the idea of 100 items seems overwhelming right now… just get as many items in your shop as you can, and make it a priority to fill it up slowly but surely.


Photos that use Flash, are Cluttered, or that are Blurry

Good photos are THE most important thing in your shop. No matter how awesome your products are, how fantastic your branding, or how amazingly you describe them and weave a wonderful story… no-one will ever click through to see any of this if your photos aren’t excellent.

I dare you to go to my ‘Sold Items‘ page in my Etsy shop, click on the very last page… and see just how terrible MY photos were when I started Epheriell as a hobby back in 2008!

I used flash… I had terrible backgrounds… I had cluttered shots that didn’t go well together… you name it, I did it wrong.

It took me a long time and a lot of trial and error to get my photos to where they are now – and I know I could do even better!

Before you spend immense amounts of time and effort marketing your shop, spend the time and effort to get your photos as gorgeous as you possibly can.


No About Page

When Etsy brought out their About Page feature, I was so happy! Finally! A great way to tell our customers about us – show them our studios and process with a rotating banner of images – show them a good photo of us and tell them what we do – share our story in detail.

Are you taking advantage of this excellent tool in your Etsy shop?

I am ALWAYS disappointed when I visit an Etsy shop and they don’t have the About Page active – or, they have a perfunctory page with no images and little story.

I – and many other people – love to buy handmade because we’re buying from a real person… and the only way we can get to know you is if you take the time to tell us all about yourself.

So, make sure to fill in your About Page – with photos and a great story about why you do what you do, and how you do it.


Lacking Policies

When you start out selling online, you often don’t know the importance of having good policies – especially if you’ve never worked in retail before (I hadn’t!).

Detailed policies are important for your customers, but they are even MORE important for you.

Having detailed, concrete policies that cover any eventuality you can think of makes dealing with customer issues a breeze.

Instead of having to stress and third-guess yourself when you’re confronted with an issue, you can simply refer yourself and your customer to your policies to solve the issue.

It means you treat everyone equally, and feel confident that you’re being fair to your customer, while also sticking to your guns with what you are and are not happy to accommodate.

You’ll also find that good policies will nip many potential problems in the bud before they even happen.

So – save yourself a lot of headaches down the line and take the time to write a set of clear, concise, but detailed policies.


Descriptions that Don’t Give Details

When your customer stumbles across your Etsy shop listing, there are really only two things that you can use to convince them that your product is the one to choose.

First – your photos.

Second – your description.

This is your only shot to convince your customer to buy.

Don’t waste this space! Make sure you’ve told them everything they need to know about the particulars of the item – size, colours, measurements, options… basically, describe it as if they can’t see it.

Also – tell them the benefits they will gain by purchasing the item. Remember – people are buying a feeling, not just a physical item! Weave a story, tell them what difference this item will make to their lives or the lives of those they love.


These are just a few of the common mistakes I see people making with their Etsy shops. However – getting just these 5 things right will go a HUGE distance towards turning your shop into something that you are not only proud of… but that will start bringing in the sales that your beautiful work deserves!


Do you want to avoid making more costly mistakes with your online shop? Registration for our e-course, Set Up Shop, closes tomorrow. It will not only help you avoid the common pitfalls that ensnare beginner handmade sellers, it will teach you all the fundamentals to get your shop shining!


This post was originally published as a guest spot on Crochet BusinessImage source: Jennifer Trovato



Van Den has written 319 posts in this blog.

Jess Van Den is the editor of Create & Thrive, and has been a full-time creative entrepreneur since 2010. She makes eco-conscious, contemporary, handmade sterling silver jewellery under the Epheriell label, and blogs about her jewellery and other beautiful things at You can catch her on twitter @JessVanDen.



Thank you! I think I can work on my policies, and yes, I need a heap more items in the shop! Actually, many of my items these days sell on Facebook before they make it to my Etsy store, so that’s one of my excuses for not having enough in my shop 🙂
I love that you’re prepared to show your “early days” photos 🙂


I like showing where I started – it shows the progress that can be made ;D And you’re welcome!


This is great! I wish I read this when I started! But I have learnt al these things through trial and error and they are all such important points.


I’m still working on my prototypes, but I will keep all this in mind when I’m actually ready to open the “doors”. It’s great that you share where you started . . . I often wonder if the nicer shops started out that way 🙂


A LOT of us did, for sure 🙂 Because we started as clueless hobbyists! 😀

What say you?